Science marches on, and soon we could be able to find out how long we will live -- and we will get that information shortly after birth.
The Daily Mail reports on DNA research being conducted at Glasgow University. Researchers studied the DNA of birds, looking at their telomeres, which act "like the plastic ends on shoelaces" to protect chromosomes from wear and tear.
It turns out the longer the telomeres, the longer the birds lived.
The Mail writes:
The results exceeded even the researchers’ expectations. The birds with the shortest telomeres did tend to die first – from as early as seven months after the start of the trial.
But one bird in the group with the longest telomeres survived to almost nine years old.
"These birds were dying of natural causes. There were no predators, no diseases and no accidental deaths. This was showing their capacity for long life," said Professor Pat Monaghan, who led the study.
Of course, humans are different from birds -- we can do things like smoking or other lifestyle choices that could shorten our lives.
Telemeres begin getting shorter from the moments we are born. But if the theory holds true for people, it could be useful in determining what makes them shorten, and perhaps being able to better predict life expectancy.
The research is published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA.